What do moms want, need, and expect from child care?

There are many different kinds of day cares and nannies. What do moms look for in a childcare provider?

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9  Answers

2 11

I have had both very positive and very negative experiences with day care providers, so I know now a lot more of what I want, need and expect than I did 3 years ago. I read all the inspection how to's, collected opinions on the best options from other moms, and visited a number of the options. Then I got on the waiting lists. Turns out, the power is really more in the hands of the providers in my area, as there is more demand than can be met. I was very nervous I would not get in to a daycare that was acceptable to my standards. I did, and one that came with a friend's recommendations, finally. But things began to fall apart after over a year of being there. First, I am generally uncomfortable with the poverty wages women working in day care receive. The daycare we used, the workers had little to no relief, as floaters were not always available. Like in a room with 6 tiny babies for 8 or more hours, with no relief. I think this is a child safety disaster in the making. Also, the big problem we ran up against was the profit motive to move a child to the "next class up" before they are the appropriate age. Older class rooms can have a greater number of students to teacher, and room is created in the younger class for a new baby. However, the child who has been moved up is "pushed" into an environment that is age inappropriate, and where expectations are set for behavior that is more advanced than they are capable of. This happened in our case, and my son was physically assaulted for not behaving like a 2 year old, when he was only 15 months. DHS was called, and the worker was fired, but we still left. Mandatory reporting is also problematic, as it is not as mandatory as you would think. One conscientious employee reported the incident, while 4 others stayed silent. Several of whom I had known and who had taken care of him for quite some time. Social pressure to cover for co-workers is strong. Mandatory reporting should have more teeth, but it does not, and DHS is swamped with much, much worse cases as it is.
So on to the good news! I found much of what I wanted in our next daycare. Fortunately I was still on the waiting list for a Quality Accredited daycare that was part of a public school, and we immediately got in. It was night and day. The employees were salaried with benefits. The turnover was much lower, and breaks and sick leave were much more appropriate. In my old daycare a woman came to work sick and had to lay down in the room with one year olds babies running around because a sub or the owner wasn't available! yikes! Quality Accredited is a higher standard of accreditation than DHS. In the one year old room, the teacher to student ration is 1:4 vs. 1:6. It makes a difference. Being in a public school also provides better oversight and resources, and several of the teachers have Masters in Early Childhood Education. The kids progress on to the Pre-K program and into the K - 5 if zoned. Also, this school is not in a fancy neighborhood, but it is close to my work. I am very grateful for it's existence, and wish more programs like it were available to parents and their children. There is a great need!
Other things I want from a daycare: a breastfeeding friendly environment, a free-of-junk-food environment, and one that tolerates restricted diets. I have definitely learned from my experience to trust my instincts about people. Teachers should look you in they eye, make an attempt to connect to and understand your family, and try to create trust. Our negative experience was founded on a lack of those things - I was hoping they would get better, but they only got worse. Trust is up most.

2 7

I have a life career in Early childhood education and I find your letter very accurate as to the conditions that exist in licensed daycare even in Canada where I know the accreditation's are very serious and require great effort for a centre to achieve. I find it difficult to think that a babysitter makes 15 dollars an hour or more and as a supervisor of a 32 licensed daycare I was making only 16.50 after four years of employment. Staff are sick daily which took me onto the floor from admin and so was never sure if the jobs I had on the supervisor end would be trumped by the fact I was there as a sub when there would be a need and this might well mean a nine hour day without a break. I am making a smart move to accredited childcare or sitting either of which seems better than what I am doing now. The physical assault on your child is rare I think in licensed daycare, there is no way i would have seen an assault on any child for any reason and not reported it! I hope that the Centre itself was con-sequenced as the policies regarding subs and pay and other factors of poor employment certainly plays a part in this scenario. Not an excuse for physical assault but a set up for the stress that would be a factor. Do you know if the worker lost his or her ECE license? It is my understanding that staff who are investigated and substantiated abusive are fired and allowed to go work at any centre they please after the investigation meaning that they are still out there and of potential risk to kids only now wiser and in a centre that will have no idea of the issue. I am wondering how this keeps children safe from such incidents. Also I have seen staff fired because they carried a two year old back into the play yard against their will. Child care providers are not allowed to touch a young child or raise their voice no matter how dangerous the situation. We are to walk behind the child (never run) and talk them back to the center. If the child is about to dive under a truck we can move then against their will. I am not sure I can "walk" to the intersection in time! The same is true of the aggressive older child beating a smaller child, we cannot take the larger child off the little one but must "talk"them off" impossible to do with the two and lower language skills or the angry four. If a child becomes aggressive or has a meltdown we must have at least one extra staff to stay inside and actively ignore the melt down child meaning ducking missiles and saying nothing till the melt down is over and then getting the child to help clean up. The other children are all taken from the room, and if there are not enough staff this is another danger, out of ratio childcare. I have seen children just lost that a firm step to restore order is not taken due to what is considered abusive today. My view is that VIHA responds more to its fears of being sued than to what is truly dangerous or abusive un the childcare environments it watches. I have left the situation because I am not comfortable with the rules. If I cannot scoop your two into safety physically I do not feel I can keep him safe wandering about in the world whilst I follow trying to manipulate the little adventurer back. I will not stand by and watch a large child beat a small one and not pull the bigger one off the smaller child. There is lots of time to debrief the children after. I know we are trained to prevent these incidences but they still happen (we cannot leave the gate locked due to fire regulations) and I cannot keep children safe under the present interpretation of the regulations that deal with abuse to kids. To never have to move a child against their will, and never raise the voice is unnatural to my way of thinking. On rare occasion (the appearance of a large dog or other emergency) a raised voice gets results. Perhaps I am outdated but I am going into childcare as a private contract with parents now and I am going to look for that parent who pays me enough to eat, and be sure that I can keep the little one safe from harm without getting fired for abuse. The situation that requires physical removal or verbal reprimand on the spot is rare but is the stuff of nightmares. I will not watch a child get harmed when I am being paid to prevent it, and would be so obligated even if I wasn't working there. There are some very serious issues between VIHA and childcare providers and I for one would be thrilled if some parents took a look into this.

15 12

I have been volunteering as a teacher's helper all summer at my child's daycare. On a slightly different note, I would like to say I had my eyes opened for me with this experience. With the growing number of single parents, neglected children, and ongoing problems/drama at home, I see SO MANY angry & physical children at daycare. I work in the 3-5 age bracket, and our room is considered the worst in the facility as far as undisciplined, disrespectful, and out of control children. Performing the most trivial act, such as reading a story, is next to impossible because the kids just will not be respectful/quiet & not interrupt. These rules of not raising your voice or touching the children are fine, but when you have a room of 13 or so and they are all just plain out of control: kicking, hitting, biting, not only the other kids but the teachers! And let's not talk about how horrible it is to hear a 4-5 yr old calling the teacher a "bitch" or a "douche bag"!! This has nothing to do with the quality of the daycare facility, because it is a good one...with teachers who love children and really care. This is about the lack of proper parenting at home and the parents expecting us to deal with their children all day with our hands tied as far as what we can do. The children are smart...and they realize we won't do anything but the "psycho babble" or a "reset" (as small time outs are referred to now). I see so many kids that are so angry and mad at everyone, who are extremely physically aggressive, and have absolutely no respect for ANY adult or authority figure. For the most part, the teachers are in the abusive situation. I fully believe this comes from the breakdown of the "family," of lack of parenting, and parents who are inexperienced, irresponsible, too wrapped up in their own problems, or just plain have a startling inabililty to set a good example. I love children, and am raising my own granddaughter who is 5. I thank God (and pat myself on the back a little) for blessing me with a well-mannered, polite, respectful child who minds when she is told something! Kudos to all you daycare workers!!!

11 0

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1 19

I work in childcare and these are some of the things to look for when choosing childcare. The children are occupied and happy. The staff are engaged with the children and not just chatting to each other. (Hard to know because staff will be on best behaviour when you as a parent are in the room.) The environment seems organised and clean. The toys are suitable and not broken or worn. (An indication that toys are bought on a regular basis.) The carer knows her stuff. Ask her some questions and see. The children in the room like the carers. Ratios are adherred to, find out what these are if you are unsure. Children who are upset are being comforted.
There are many more and in Australia we are required to abide to accreditation guidelines to ensure quality childcare. Random checks are made to keep us on our toes. Carers often do this for the love of children because quite frankly the pay and sometimes conditions are second rate.

5 0

As a child care provider for 11 years and also a mom who had my son in day care for two years finding and keeping a good daycare can be challenging. I think a parent should look for a provider that treats them and their kids with respect. My day care kids don't want to go home at the end of the day, and that is my goal! Many of the parents that bring their kids to my day care heard about me from another parent so I think that word of mouth is important when it comes to selecting a day care.

I am also a Local Childcare Coordinator for Cultural Care Au Pair and have found that the au pair program is a great way to get to know who is caring for your children because they live with you. You see first hand how they interact with your kids on a daily basis! Along with that you also get to learn about another culture and share ideas.

17 27

Moms need first to inspect the DayCare .
Walk around and see how the children are
responding to their surroundings .
Make sure there is enough staff .
Check sleeping area , make sure you
do pop -ins so as to see staff in area
where children are sleeping .
Ask to come when children are preparing
for lunch also eating lunch ,make sure your
child eats those foods you send ,especially
if of another religion .
A must ,check out the temperment of staff
during play time and as well as when pickup
time is .
If your day care provider is always showing
teeth all the time something is up .
At times day care providers go through Some
stress like parents do ,
Rules a must .Do not spank my child ,share with
me my Childs behavior and you are welcome
to do time out if child understand .
Keep in mind they act out and want parents,
at times .
Rule show love and do not compare children
with others ,some are fast learners and some
are slow or maybe special needs and moms
don't know yet . Make sure they explain about
what the rules are doing sickness in daycare
Have emergency plan also have numbers of second
Last but not lease make sure your child is
not sitting doing nothing ,appropriate toys are
a must .
Inspect all City Papers every three months.
so much more ,etc
Thankful Paulette

5 0

I am interested in this topic since I am a childcare provider. I do not have a tv where I do childcare. I live in a 3 unit building which we own. My family lives in 1/2 the house, my MIL in the 2nd floor apt and I do childcare in the 1st floor apt. Everything there is child friendly. I do take the children outside on cold days especially if we have snow. Unfortunately, my daycare parents do not dress their children appropiately for the weather so sometimes we have to forgo being outdoors. If a child is not behaving appropiately with a toy or with other children, I will guide them to a different activity and in the case of the latter, to an acitivity away from other children, like doing a puzzle or helping me with something.

7 4

I worked in childcare as well for ten years, in two daycares. My own son attended both of the daycares. It's interesting to see both sides of the coin. There is the expectation from the parent, then expectations of the parent.

5 1

Lorraine, that is so true about having been on both sides of the coin & the expectations on ea. side. I've only been a Child Care Provider since Jan. in KS u must be licensed & the standards are high. I went through numerous UNannounced HV (home visits) with state licensing staff & also local & state level staff for the Nutrition Program I participate in. It's a myth that "anyone can do child care..." I was a Clinical Social Worker for 20+ yrs. in mental health/child welfare fields. Got tired of spending all my time & energy worrying about everyone else's kids then having nothing left for my own child. My family thinks I'm crazy "wasting me education" but I love being there w/ my own 6 yr. old, esp. this summer.

2 24

Darla, some think I'm wasting my education as well. I have a BA and a license and grad work in Early Childhood, so can teach through 3rd grade. I also tutor public school students in reading and becoming a Reading Specialist. I chose to stay home with my children and reopen a registered (nutrition program) home daycare and preschool. I know I provide quality care, something I didn't have with my oldest when I was a single mom on state assistance. I want this service for the "in-between" families - too rich for Head Start, but too poor to pay $700+ a month. I tell families to look for registered or licensed providers (ie, I can't get licensed because I live in an apartment triplex, but I can get registered) because there is some oversight of the home/facility. I also lead them to local resources for more information and help, because many times they're getting most their info from craigslist. I sometimes talk myself out of a job- but my goal is interest of the child and family. I'll attract the families that supposed to be here. There should be a balance of activities, and a clue they take care of themselves (at least a week paid vacation a year). A substitute/backup can be important, especially in home daycare. There's a lot of other information I give parents to help them find care right for them. Oh, yeah,chemistry with the child's teacher is also important!

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178 43

I'm a licensed home provider with an intensive play-based preschool curriculum, with a 3 year waiting list. What my clients like about my program, and why they return: NUTRITION: highly nutritious menu that far exceeds the USDA guidelines and is super-food rich, EDUCATION: I have a master's degree in training and development, college courses in early childhood education/curriculum and will complete my Childhood Development Associates next week, working towards accreditation. DISCIPLINE: children are instructed what TO DO, rather than punished for misbehavior, we strive for a very zen, peaceful and relaxed environment and have various measure in place to facilitate that. PROGRESS: assessments, developmental checklists, observations to track all phases of development. ENVIRONMENT: print-rich, play-based, logs, mud pit, soccer and t-ball field, trike track, age-segregated play equipment, self-selected activities, movement and sensory based learning activities. COMMUNITY: the parents hang out here regularly with me, the children and each other. We have a monthly newsletter and parent information boards, along with the FB page, web page and blog. SAFETY: double latched [not locked] security measures, extremely child-proofed, and stranger proofed. INFANT CARE: infants receive massage, crossing-the-midline and core strengthening exercises, songs, stories, cuddles and have a space segregated from other little ones' inquisitiveness for tummy time and exploration. One of my clients has a doctorate in early childhood education and is the director for a major school district's special education preschool, I take care of her two children. One of the grandmothers is a former early elementary teacher and did inspections for NAEYC, I have her two granddaughters in my care. I'm one of the highest paid home childcare providers in the city, but my clients feel they get their money's worth...to the extent that they plan additional children around my anticipated openings, as I give them first dibs. www.littlestarslearning.blogspot.com

6 17

When my children were young they went to short term day care, babysitters in the home, and babysitters out of the home. I made a list of questions, went to the day care, and asked. All I can remember is that when I dreopped my children off there I always hoped and prayed that somebody in there would treat and love my children as I do. The kids always had a god time. They loved playing with other children their own age.

8 0

I would look for a safe, clean place,lots of caring staff,patience when working with my child,I would want my child to learn new things in a safe i nviroment, keeping my child clean, and dressed in clean clothes at all times, play time is good, but frequently wash their hands, clean flooring to play on.playing with music, and singing and dancing makes a happy child,

17 1

I expect a safe clean environment. I want my child to get outside even when it is a little cold outside and little or no TV time. I also want my child to have kids her own age to play with and a discipline program that is based on positive feedback and direction rather than "NO Don't do that!". I am lucky I have a daycare that proposes just that.


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